If a person has something they consider valuable, regardless of whether it’s money, gemstones, treasures, or property, they will take the necessary precautions to store it away in a safe place. When someone or something is extremely important to them, they will do whatever it takes to protect it, even if it means going to extreme measures. Some people are willing to go to any lengths to keep such treasures from being taken away from them. Some even hire security guards to keep watch! Nevertheless, as Christians, what are the real riches we ought to hold on to?
According to the teachings of the Bible, we should never try to store up any treasures here on earth, as the rust will eventually destroy them, the moths will devour them, and thieves will break in and steal them. Instead, we ought to keep our valuables in heaven, where moths can’t eat them, rust can’t destroy them, and thieves can never take them. (Matthew 6:19-20)
As followers of Jesus Christ, it is our duty to make a concerted effort to keep our hearts and minds free from all forms of covetousness (And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. Luke 12:15). The richness of worldly things here on earth is just temporary; the quantity of material items and other belongings that we have does not define a person’s level of success. When the time comes, it is irrelevant how many material possessions you have or how much money you have saved up in the bank, as these things are destined to be destroyed over the course of time and cannot be taken beyond the grave.
The root of all evil is the love for money and other material things found in the world (For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10). When we long for things that we do not have, we open the door for temptation to enter our lives and lead us astray. If we are not vigilant, there is a good chance that we will walk right into that trap. This serves as a reminder that we should not attach ourselves to the things of this world or even to the world itself. These items will eventually become worn out, and they cannot be kept for all eternity. Treasures will only decay and be destroyed.
It is impossible for us to love God and money at the same time. You can either hate the other while loving God or love God while hating the other. You cannot hold both of these emotions at the same time. You will be devoted to one, but despise the other (No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:13). Because you will invariably take a stance favoring one option over the other, you are unable to select both of the available choices. It is hard to have the same level of commitment to the other option since it is difficult to simultaneously have two identical emotions.
We should not be proud of ourselves simply because we are wealthy or have more than enough resources to meet our own needs. Our faith must never be placed in our financial security or the things that we own, as these things don’t last very long. It’s possible that one day we’ll have them, but the next day we could easily end up losing everything. We never know when we will be taken from this world, when our hearts will finally cease beating, or when will be the last time we draw breath in this life. Because we won’t be able to appreciate it or make use of wealth at that point, the treasures we place such a high value on will have lost all of their significance (Luke 12:19-21). Because of this, the amount of wealth that we possess must not be the standard by which we evaluate the value of our possessions; rather, our treasure ought to be stored in heaven, because we are rich as a direct result of the things that we do for God. Therefore, we are required to save our wealth in heavenly places.
Paul addressed a letter to Timothy in which he counseled wealthy Christians on how to live their lives and reminded them of important things to consider. Because of the inherent uncertainty that comes with riches, he emphasized that those who are wealthy should never be haughty or rest their faith in their fortune. Instead, they should put their trust in God, since doing so is the right thing to do in any situation (Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 1 Timothy 6:17). The Lord is extremely generous, in that he provides for all of our needs. It is important to remember that God is the owner of everything, including everything that has ever been created. Everything that is contained inside it, including the heavens and the earth below (Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Deuteronomy 10:14). It is expected of wealthy Christians to conduct themselves in a manner that is right. Another thing that should be remembered by the rich is the compassion that they must show to other people and the acts of kindness that they should give. They need to cultivate a culture of generosity and be ready to share what they have with others, particularly their neighbors who are in such critical need of aid; this is very important for them to do. This acts as a show of the love and devotion they have for God, because it serves as a sign of obedience and reverence (Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 1 Timothy 6:18).
It is not bad to have treasure here on earth, as the Lord blesses us and provides for all our needs in different ways. It is a manifestation of His love and provision. What is not right, however, is if we put those riches ahead of God. We must ensure that God is put first in everything, because if we love Him, we will only do things that please Him (Matthew 6:33).